By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

An agribusiness giant, Santuscom Agro Investment Company Limited, Tuesday, disclosed securing $1.2 million facilities from Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Bank of Industry, BoI, SunTrust Bank, and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, to boost food production.

This was made known in a statement signed by the Managing Director, Santuscom Agro Investment Company Limited, Chief Paul Ofana.

Ofana also said the company signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with CBN, BoI, SunTrust Bank, and NIRSAL Microfinance Bank to access the facilities.

According to him, the BoI/SunTrust facility is for procurement of equipment, plant and accessories for complete rice milling plant of 60 tonnes per day, which is put to the tune of over N300 million.

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Santuscom Agro Investment Company Limited is the producer of the popular Ogoja Rice.

He said: “Santuscom Agro Investment Company Limited, the producers of our popular Ogoja Rice have secured and signed an investment deal with the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers Programme to the tune of $1.2 million, which is equivalent of over N761.9 million.

“The investment from Bank of Industry through the SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited is to upscale our rice processing factory to package and process a 60 tonnes per day and five tonnes per hour per boiling mill.

“While the N460 million is secured from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank to finance 2,000 hectares  rice field in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.

He also expressed optimism that, “These facilities are not just going to impact in few months but the facilities that will impact positively in the agro industrialization of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and also help support the food security initiative of the government.”

Meanwhile, the Santuscom boss assured that, “It will create employment and wealth for our teeming youths, because a lot of them are going to be engaged in activities in our farm and in the entire value chain.

“It is also going to support the Government’s food security effort, and also improve our export, because part of the agreement is to export to nearby African countries, which is going to earn us some foreign exchange into the country as well.

“So it’s a huge boost in the agricultural value chain, especially in the rice sub-sector and our target in the next couple of months is to crash the price of rice, which is one of the stable foods in Nigeria. And all these are hugely encouraged by the government intervention in agriculture.

On the issue of the current high prices of rice in the market, he said, “Our target is to crash the price of rice and make it affordable and available for Nigerians to get vitamised Ogoja Rice in the nearest shop and market.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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